No Solid Doors

            The recent news from our neighboring Solebury School is both heart-wrenching and heart-breaking. Here’s what was written in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

At first it was just a rumor at the prestigious boarding school: A 15-year-old sophomore was having a sexual affair with the 25-year-old music teacher.

Both denied a relationship, and administrators could prove nothing.

Months later, the girl's mother found evidence of the affair, including letters from the teacher to her daughter.

What happened next could offer a glimpse into the past culture at the Solebury School, now the subject of a criminal investigation, accused of tolerating sexual abuse of students or misconduct by staff over decades.

After hearing the rumor in the mid-1990s, administrators never called the police. The teacher . . . was allowed to move quietly from the school's rural campus near New Hope and resume teaching elsewhere. The girl left the school, too. And when her parents asked for their deposit back for the next academic year, Solebury refused.

Two years passed before the teenager and her mother contacted Solebury Township police, and Chadwick was arrested. He was later convicted and jailed.

The grand jury report paints a picture of an elite boarding school -- tuition now costs $35,000 a year for day students and $52,000 for residents -- where rules were loose and relationships were informal

"No boundaries existed between students and teachers," it said, creating an environment that ‘paved the way for abuse of students.’"

             Any news of the abuse of children and youth is almost too much to hear. This is the reason why I wept when I first watched “Spotlight” the Academy Award-winning film from last year that told the wretched story of the Roman Catholic clergy abuse scandal as first reported by the Boston Globe in the early 2000’s. I wept because of the hundreds, probably thousands of individuals who have had their faith in God shattered because of secrets and cover-ups.  

            It is for this reason that I asked to have a window put in my study door. I requested the Property Committee to install a pane that makes my workplace private but visible. There should be no place in our church where someone can hide from the eyes of others. This small window protects me but much more importantly protects children, youth people and adults. The gospel is the power of God to change lives eternally. Those, like me, who speak it and try to live the gospel, are called to do so with complete integrity. Let the good news never be about me, and may my weakness never compromise or distract others from seeing Jesus Christ alone